The ugly duckling

Our kitchen is tiny. And we have a lot of kitchen stuff. When your beloved loves cooking as much as mine does, you tend to acquire kitchen things. Olive pitters, and multi-level steamers, and three different sizes of pasta pot.

All of which is deemed completely necessary and Impossible To Throw Out. OoooohKaaayyy. Look, his cooking is amazing, and if he needs all these things to produce it, I deem it a small price to pay for wonderful food. So, the equipment is all intricately layered in drawers and cabinets, and stacked on top of cupboards and bench tops.

Consequently, we desperately need more kitchen storage, and these past few days our tiny kitchen has driven me out from the ongoing garage-to-studio transformation in search of something we can use to improve things. Out into the great unexplored territory of our local thrift stores.

I have written before about how much I love thrift stores. It’s that heady sense of excitement and anticipation. The possibility of unearthing a bargain. And now I have a whole plethora of new ones to explore. Lucky lucky me!

I always do a survey of thrift stores when I go somewhere new, to create a kind of mental inventory: this one has great clothes; this one is disorganized so make sure you only go when you have lots of time to dig; this one is too expensive; this one is best for furniture; this one is worth checking back on regularly, this one is rubbish … and so on. This time, however, I was making an inventory while looking for something in particular. More storage.

Looking at our size-challenged kitchen, you must be wondering where on earth we are going to squeeze another piece of furniture. We aren’t. The answer lies in the garage.

Current garage shelving

As you can see, we already use a set of shelves in the garage as a kind of dumping ground for excess kitchen stuff. Like the some of the gazillion plates we own (only my beloved would walk past a restaurant that was closing down and buy ALL of their plates). Or the excess wine glasses, or some vases.

Oh, and a few paint tins … As you can see things are bit higgledy piggledy in the garage right now. It is in a state of transit from garage to studio. And it is a mess. The mess that comes before being finished.

What is wrong with using these shelves, I hear you wonder? Well two things. The first is simple. Dust.

I am an artist, and making art is not clean. Unless you do graphic design or textiles. You could always tell the graphic design and textile students at art school. They had nice clothes. Clean ones.

Making sculpture is not clean, it is dusty, dirty, and you wouldn’t want your dishes necessarily exposed to the things you work with in there. Which is why they invented cupboards with doors.

So we are going to replace these shelves with a cupboard with doors. The second reason is equally basic: we wanted something that would fit the space. As you can see the ladder to our attic is currently partly behind the existing shelving:

Attic ladder to the right of the shelves, and partially covered by them

Our current shelving partially covers the access ladder to the attic

So something with doors, that is the right size for the space.

In an ideal world we would invest in wonderful built in cabinets, with perfectly spaced pull out shelves and deep drawers that glide in and out as if on a cloud, and lazy susans and space saving gizmos and things. But we are not Martha Stewart, nor do we have the beautiful-built-in budget right now.

Hence the thrift shop expedition. We are going to make do. And be clever and creative.

After a couple of false starts over the week, I got lucky yesterday. I found the ultimate ugly duckling:

So ugly ...

Wonderfully, gloriously, fabulously ugly. So ugly, in fact, that it was perfectly fantastic and I had to have it. Even better it was the right size to fit in the space available. I snapped a picture of it with my iPhone (hence the appalling quality) and came home to show the beloved my brilliant find.

Luckily he agreed with me, particularly when I told him the price: $80. B.A.R.G.A.I.N.

So I immediately went back to stake my claim.

Hilariously, the man in the thrift store tried very hard to persuade me to buy several other of the more tasteful china cabinets they had in stock. It took me a while to convince him that this was indeed the one I wanted. It was only when I said it was the right size to fit the space I had that he was mollified enough to accept that I was actually going to buy this thing.

So now I am impatiently awaiting it’s delivery on Tuesday. And contemplating what color to paint it. Tangerine orange? Fire engine red? Deep blue? Teal? Personally I am leaning towards orange or red right now. It would fit with the age of the piece.

I guess you will have to wait and see.

Will it become a swan? Are you kidding me!?! Most likely not, but that is not the point. I love it exactly as it is, in all it’s ugly glory.


5 responses to “The ugly duckling

  1. i love it! check out my thrift store finds:

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